The Mom and Dads- The Very Best of The Mom and Dads

Look at this cover.  How am I going to pass this one up?  It looks like an SCTV skit. Got a to have a decent story in this record.  Besides, it was only a dollar.  I can’t make out the name on the record, but it has been duly recorded that this was purchased on December 1, 1979. Furthermore, it was recorded to CD on March 29th, 1995.  The owner felt it necessary to document the fact that this happened on a Tuesday.

The Mom and Dads were a polka band from Spokane, Wash.  At the time of the liner notes, the band consisted of Doris Crow, 72, Les Welch, 64, Harold Henderson, 58, and the youngest member, Quentin Ratiff, 42.  Wikipedia places their formation in the 1950’s but they rose to prominence in 1971 with the release of “Ranger’s Waltz”.  It was their first recording and it forced the group to adopt their name.  This became a hit in Canada and Australia.  19 albums and about 90 days of concerts a year later, the band were international stars.  The ride all ended when Welch passed away in 1983.  The remaining members have all passed as well, the last being Ratliff in 2013.

This record, released by GNP Crescendo in 1979 culminates the output during this period, (the 70’s).  A two record set, the album is all instrumentals; waltzes, polkas, and everything in between.  With the exception of “Ranger’s Waltz”, the rest of the songs are covers.  Pretty good mix of songs.  I mean they all kind of sound the same but at least there is a good cross section of songs.

 

For a sample, I went with the Kris Kritofferson number, “Me and Bobby McGee”.

Satisfactory.

The Magnificent Men- Live!

This little gem was a dollar (or perhaps 80 cents with discount.  It looks like a got this on Labor Day).  Not sure what drew me to this other than the purple color.

The Magnificent Men were a blue eyed soul group from Harrisburg, PA who combined from two racially integrated groups in the 60’s.  They have the distinction of being the first all white group to headline at the Apollo Theater.  Three records with Capitol and one with Mercury could not help the band break on a national level and as a result they disbanded in 1973.  I got most of this information from a fellow blogger, On The Record.

Post from On The Record

This was the band’s second album and a live on at that.  I believe this is their best selling album, releasesd in 1967. At the very least, it produced the group’s most successful single, “Sweet Soul Medley”, a take off of “Sweet Soul Music” sprayed with impressions of famous soul groups of the time.  Overall, it is a pretty good record.  Good soul regardless of the color of the singers.  Good vocals.  Good instrumentation. I liked a lot of songs on this album including “Stormy Weather”. “Doin’ the Philly Dog”, “Peace of Mind”, and “Function at the Junction”.

Well for a sample, I went with “Sweet Soul Medley” as listed above.

Satisfactory

 

Larry Gatlin and The Gatlin Brothers- Houston to Denver

Starting another week of the Show in this new year , this time with no overt theme.  This was one dollar.  I am not going to pass anything up with a home town reference.

Larry Gatlin, born in Seminole, Texas in 1948, is a country singer/song writer of considerable success, having 33 Top 40 singles.  After playing football as a wide receiver for University of Houston, he joined the gospel group, The Imperials.

It was during a tour with the group that he met Dottie West, who after recording two of his songs, set him up in Nashville. After a stint as a background singer, he eventually recorded two albums before enlisting the aid of his two brothers Steve and Rudy.  And from here, the trio enjoyed a widely successful period in the late 70’s/early 80’s before calling it a day in 1992.

This record, released in 1984 yielded three big hits, “The Lady Takes The Cowboy Everytime’, “Denver”, and “Houston” which would go #1 on the US country charts.  I remember hearing it at baseball games in the Astrodome as a kid as well.  Overall, the album is a pretty good representation of early 80’s/Urban cowboy style country.  Not my favorite era of the genre but still pretty good.

 

For a sample, I went with “A Dream That Got A Little Out Of Hand.

Satisfactory.

 

Steppenwolf- Steppenwolf 7

Saturday is rocking along with this album I got for $1.20.  Steppenwolf, best known for “Born to Be Wild” and ” Magic Carpet Ride, formed in Los Angeles in 1967, but 3/5’s of the band were Canadian.  Jerry Edmonton, Goldy McJohn, and singer John Kay were in a popular Oshawa band, Jack and the Sparrows.

Steppenwolf 7, oddly enough, was the band’s 5th studio album.  Released in 1970, the album had the group’s trademark sound.  It features hard rocking songs , big grooves, and loud guitar. Despite not having any singles that would break the Top 40, this is a pretty decent album.

Kay was born in 1944 in Tilsit, East Prussia, Germany (now Sovetsk, Kaliningrad Oblast, part of the Russian Federation). A year later, he and his mother fled during the Soviet advance during the Evacuation of East Prussia.  The train got stuck in Arnstadt, which was at the time occupied by Americans but would soon become Soviet occupied East Germany.  They fled over a heavily guarded border into West Germany in 1949 and then immigrated to Canada in 1958.  Kay recounts this experience in the song “Renegade” and for that reason, I am using this as a sample.

Satisfactory little record.

Change- Got To Get Up 12″ single

We are finishing up this week’s theme of records I purchased without close inspection, took home and found different discs inside the cover.  In most cases, this happens with the $1 his record I actually spent a pretty penny for.  400 pennies to be exact. 

And why not, for an early record from the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin.  I do not have enough soul records on this site and this would have been an excellent addition.

Well what I got is just awful.  I got a 12″ single from Italian/American post disco group Change, a group that would feature Luther Vandross and Deborah Cooper, who would later form C+C Music Factory .  It was a promo single form 1983 “Got To Get Up” that did not chart, perhaps because of the promo nature. So not only was this not what I was expecting, but there was only two songs per side and they were basically the same song.  I listened to both sides to try to find the differences and they were few.

bargai vinylI understand that this is not fair to Change nor producer Jacques Fred Petrus as the group had several #1 songs.  However, this is completely the opposite of what I was expecting and I paid $4 for this screw job.

Well, here is the only song on this record, “Got To Get Up”.  Again, apologies to the group is this is a pretty good representative of work from 1983, but I am quite disappointed with this transaction.  If I got a full record, perhaps I would feel differently or if I paid a dollar.

Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops Orchestra- American Salute

This week we have been showcasing records that I bought without any close inspection and upon arrival at home, discovered them to be different than their covers.  If you have been following this blog, you can imagine how excited I was to see this as I post a lot of work by both Doc Severinsen and Command Records.  Plus this was only a dollar.

And what a track list this was, “Mas Que Nada”, “Love Theme from Paris Burning”, “It’s Not Unusual”, “Walk On By” ( the Burt Bacharachsong), “Goin’ Out Of My Head” ,and “Guantanamera”.  Plus the “Singing” in the title would indicate vocals. With a vocal chorus of 12 singers, Severinsen was backed on this record by the usual cast of Command characters including Dick Hyman and Tony Mottola.  All in all, this would have been a great album. Severinsen would have to really, I mean really screw the pooch for this record not to be great.

Well, my heart sank when I pulled this out as I was quite hyped to listen to it.  What I got was An American Salute by Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops Orchestra.  Released in 1972 by RCA, this is collection of songs with an American feel with numbers both contemporary and traditional.

Don’t get me wrong.  There are a lot of really great songs on this record and Fiedler’s skills as the leading conductor of pop orchestras is quite evident here.  I actually had about half this album recorded as potential samples.  Songs I liked include the title track, “Deep In The Heart of Texas”, “By The Time I Get To Phoenix”, “Rodeo Hoedown”, and “Chester”.  Ultimately, I went with “Alabama Jubilee” which is a more traditional Americana number along with the Jim Webb penned “Galveston” which is quite a good version.  Having some second thoughts writing this post about switching “Alabama” for “Chester” but no.  I am going with my gut.

So as good as this record is and despite my respect for Fiedler, I was just way to jazzed to hear the Severinsen album so I am still quite disappointed with this transaction.  Meh.  I know this is really unfair to Fiedler.  Anyway, I am still looking out for the Severinsen record and hopefully, this story will have a happy ending.

The Temptations- Greatest Hits

Keeping with this week’s theme of records I bought that were different than there covers, I submit this, previously owned by one Rich Ortiz.  When I saw this album by a young Stevie Wonder for only a dollar, I flipped out.  When I saw the track listing and saw “Sunny”, ” Everybody’s Talking”, “I’ve Got To Be Me”, “Blowin’ In The Wind”, By The Time I Get To Phoenix” and “For Once In My Life”, I thought this was a major score and was really excited to listen to this record.

I also probably would have really enjoyed writing a post on Wonder.  I would have noted how remarkable he is and how he could have played it safe and continued this style of music into the 70’s, but instead he chose to reinvent himself and his music in that decade and beyond.  Would have been a fun post to write.

Well, instead of this record, I got the Temptation’s Greatest Hits, which is not a bad collection.  The Detroit vocal group who are perhaps most famous for :My Girl” were a smash hit in the 60’s and dominated the RnB charts of that period. Released on Gordy Records, a division of Motown.  All the classic hits from this legendary vocal group are here. And there is not a bad moment on here. This record, released in 1966 would go to #1 on the RnB Charts and #5 on the overall US charts.

For a sample, I could have gone with any song.  As with the more established artists whose albums I post on this blog, I like to do less known pieces of work but that is almost impossible on this record.  So I went with “Don’t Look Back”, a single released in 1966 that went to #15 on the RnB charts.

I really wanted to hear that Stevie Wonder album so I am actually quite disappointed with that . However, this is a really good album as well.  So this transaction washes out.  Satisfactory.

 

Tom T. Hall- New Train, Same Rider

We are continuing this week with records that a bought only to discover a different record inside. I know. Perhaps I should do a better job of checking these out before I buy.  Well when they are only a buck, I just roll the dice. It is not worth my time to insect every album.  Well, I got this for a dollar.  I am not an overly huge Conway Twitty fan but felt that it would be a good addition to the site and I could learn more about his catalog.

What I got when I got home was a record by country singer/songwriter, and novelist Tom T. Hall.  Hall wrote such country songs such as “Harper Valley PTA” and “Hello Vietnam”.  Hall, born in Olive Hill, Kentucky in 1936 has written 11 #1 songs as well as another 26 that made the Top Ten. Known as “The Storyteller”, Hall is still kicking it today.

 

This record, New Train Same Rider, was Hall’s 16th if I can count right.  Released in 1978 in RCA, it is actually a pretty good album.  I liked it.  Perhaps I liked it more than I would the Twitty album.  It features songs written by Hall such as “Come Back To Nashville”, “No One Feels My Hurt” and “Mabel, You Have Been A Friend To Me” as well as tunes written by others such as “Whiskey”, and “Dark Hollow”.  Pretty straight forward 70’s country.  In all, a pretty good album.

 

However, there was this one song that I felt was quite hokey. Released as a single that went #13 in the US and #5 in Canada, “May The Force Be With You” no doubt is a novelty gimmick designed to take advantage of the massive success of Star Wars.  This song is like a train wreck.  It is ugly but I can not dare to look away.  So here it is as a sample.  I would like to say that there are much better songs on this album, but this is the one that stuck.

 

Overall, despite this number, this is a really good album and as stated before, I believe I made out better with this than the original purchase. Satisfactory.

Original Cast Recording- Side By Side by Sondhiem

This week, I am showcasing various records that I bought, took home, and discovered were different then what their covers had indicated.  This unfortunately has happened more than I would care for since I started this blog.  Sometimes, I end u with something better than what I expected.  More often than not, it is the records I am most excited about that suffer this cruel fate.  Sometime there are happy endings when I find the record I was originally looking for unfortunately, that has happened only once with a Martin Denny album.

So I bought this, the movie version of the Broadway musical, The Pajama Game, for a dollar.  I got it because it is a pretty decent musical, I like John Raitt as well as Doris Day, and most importantly I wanted to write about Eddie Foy Jr, the son of Eddie Foy Sr, the turn of the 20th century vaudevillian.  I would probably have written about how the son played his father in James Cagney biopic of George Cohan Yankee Doodle Dandy. I am not sure what I would have posted as I already put my favorite song “Hernando’s Hideaway” by  Carol Haney on an earlier Broadway post.

What I received is this, the second disc of a double record from Side by Side by Stephen Sondheim, recorded by the original London Cast. It was a revue style musical based on the work of the composer, which debuted in London’s West End in 1976.  I am not sure when this came out but I guess close to its West End run which was over 800 shows.  The production moved to Broadway the following year where it ran over 300 performances.

I must say, I was impressed by the fact they put Side 3 and 4 on on disc rather than putting 1 and 4 or 2 and 3.  This is one of my pet peeves.  The disc I got has songs from Anyone Can Whistle, A Little Night Music,  Pacific Overtures, Do I Hear a Waltz?, West Side Story, The Mad Show, Gypsy, Follies, and Company.  I believe that makes up most of Act II.

So despite liking Sondheim, I was not real excited to listen to the record.  But after putting it on, I liked a lot of the songs.  Some I knew.  Some I knew of.  Others were new.  But again, I warmed up to getting this record rather than the Pajama Game. What sealed the deal for me was “I’m Still Here” from Follies, the story of old Broadway actors and actresses from the early days of musical theater who reunite years later.  The song in particular is song by one of the old actresses who is going over the peaks and valleys of her career.  I fell in love with this immediately as it is one of those “I’ve taken all life has thrown at me and survived” type songs.  I also found it quite interesting that Sondheim wrote this during out of town tryouts when another song was not working.  Upon looking for a video to post, it is apparent that this is a favorite of older actresses as I had many to choose from.  Well, Ann Miller is as good as anybody.

So it was not what I wanted but still a good album and again “I’m Still Here” is one of those songs you feel richer for knowing.  I will say this switch is quite satisfactory.

 

Grand Funk Railroad- Live Album

Here we are with more rock and roll on the weekend.  This time, there is is this double record I got for $3 from Capitol.  I got it to get more rock on the blog.

As my neighbor put it ,Grand Funk Railroad was something in their day (that day would be the 70’s). This was their fourth album and the first live disc.  Released in 1970, it came out before the massive success of “American Band”.  The band were no slouches though with a pretty impressive sales streak on prior releases.

Furthermore, this album, recorded at various gigs in Florida, features no overdubs, re-mixing, or audio engineering.  Here is full form is the bands early live show in all its glory or at least four sides worth anyway.

The album was panned by critics but a commercial success.  Critics of the 1970’s were pretty constantly off base on rock anyway.  The record went to #5 on the Billboard charts as well as # 17 on the US RnB charts, which is quite a accomplishment. It would also go Gold a week after release.

For a sample, I went with “Mark Say’s Alright”, a shout out to the guitarist/singer Mark Farner. I went with this because it was short, at least relatively to a lot of the tracks on the record.  I must also state that both records were warped horribly.

Satisfactory.